The Implementation Roadmap for the European Science Cloud (EOSC) puts focus on research data adhering to the FAIR principles of being findable, accessible, interoperable, and reusable. These are all excellent goals and the social science data archive community has been promoting similar ideas since at least the 1970’s. We know that managing, disseminating and preserving digital data for the long term is neither simple nor straightforward. Research data will not become nor stay FAIR by magic. We need skilled people, transparent processes, interoperable technologies and collaboration to build, operate and maintain research data infrastructures.
A key theme in digital preservation and thus in all FSD’s functions is trust. Data subjects need to be able to trust that data about them are handled in an appropriate way. Researchers need to have trust that FSD manages their data according to the agreements. FSD’s users need to be able to trust that they get access to reliable versions of data from FSD and that, for example, all changes made to the deposited datasets are documented. In short, FSD needs to be a trusted digital repository.
Shaping the trust landscape
Luckily, FSD is not alone. In addition to collaborating in national networks, FSD is the Finnish Service Provider for CESSDA ERIC (Consortium of European Social Science Data Archives). CESSDA requires that all its Service Providers adhere to the trustworthy digital repository requirements set by the CoreTrustSeal. In August 2017, FSD acquired the new CTS certification among the first CESSDA Service Providers.
FSD has been active in CESSDA’s trust work for several years and currently I am a member of the CESSDA Trust Working Group. The Group offers guidance and support to CESSDA members in understanding and acquiring the CoreTrustSeal and maintains an overview of the trust landscape including certification standards and the emergence of the FAIR data principles and the requirements of the EOSC. I am also a member of the CoreTrustSeal Board 2018–2021. These collaborations are essential for strengthening FSD’s expertise. They also provide unique insights to, and possibilities to be involved in, shaping the trust landscape.
Today is the World Digital Preservation Day. It brings together the digital preservation community to celebrate the collections preserved, the access maintained and the understanding fostered by preserving digital materials. I want to take this opportunity to celebrate FSD’s current and forthcoming collaborations and especially our staff’s great expertise and dedication. As the Chair of the CESSDA Trust Group Herve L’Hours has written: Technologies can be consolidated, and processes automated, but collection, creation, curation and research use/reuse of data is ultimately dependent on the domain and disciplinary expertise of the humans who know them best. (L’Hours 2018)
Happy Digital Preservation!
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